“U.S. trade negotiators should not be surprised by Chinese ‘reneging,’” says John Graham, University of California, Irvine professor emeritus, marketing and international business, faculty director of the Center for Global Leadership, and director of international programs. “This, the most common complaint made by Americans working with Chinese, represents a crucial difference in negotiating rituals in the two countries.”

 Graham explains the styles as sequential and holistic. Americans settle one issue and then move on to the next, while Chinese move around, back and forth, between and among the issues, where “nothing is settled until everything is settled.”

He says that the Americans may be making “good progress, but they just can’t tell. Too bad for all of us, because they aren’t just talking about money. They’re negotiating world peace.”


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